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A cappella group After the Storm sweetly sweeps Metro commuters' cares away

Tyrone Cloud, from left, Henry Miller and Jamie Lewis, three-fourths of After the Storm.
Tyrone Cloud, from left, Henry Miller and Jamie Lewis, three-fourths of After the Storm. (John Kelly/the Washington Post)
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A story that isn't afraid to ask the big questions, such as: Why do birds sing so gay, as lovers await the break of day? Or the story about Papa, who was a rolling stone. Wherever he laid his hat was his home.

"We take them back to their era," Jamie says. "They don't even hear those songs on the radio. You gotta switch a whole lotta channels to hear those songs."

When the members of the group decide it's time to go out and earn some "paper," they meet at the McDonald's at 12th and F streets NW, then descend into their concrete concert hall at Metro Center, following the audience along the various lines. The acoustics are great in subterranean Metro stations, but there are challenges. It's no use singing while a train is entering or leaving, so they keep their eyes on the next-train signs.

"We see how much time we got, and that determines the songs we do," Jamie says. "If we've got four minutes, we'll do a slow song. If we've got two or three minutes, we'll do a fast one."

They might occasionally get grief from WMATA, but they say plenty of Metro employees love After the Storm. Tyrone says they've sung at two Metro employees' weddings and one funeral. Last weekend, the group went to New York and auditioned for NBC's a cappella competition "The Sing-Off." They're not supposed to tell anyone how they did, but, between you and me: Stay tuned.

"That sign says 18 minutes," Jamie reports, nodding his head at the display showing when the next train will arrive to take us tired office workers home. "We start singing, we make it feel like five minutes."

Summer lovin'

Summer officially begins on Monday. We want to see what that means to you. And we want to share it with the world.

It's all part of "30-Second Summer," a new washingtonpost.com video contest. Tape and submit a 30-second video capturing how you're spending your summer in the Washington area. A panel of esteemed judges will pick its favorites, and readers will vote for a winner. The prize: a $200 American Express gift card.

For details and contest rules, visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/30-second-summer.


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